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Ministry of Health
Ramadan and Health > Obesity
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There is a long list of diseases associated with obesity. Apart from being an important predisposing factor for coronary heart disease, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease (stroke) and diabetes, obesity is also associated with pulmonary hypertension, cor pulmonale, obstructive sleep apnoea, pickwickian syndrome, cholelithiasis, renal vein thrombosis, intertrigo, hirsutism, acanthosis nigricans, hyperlipidemia, hyperuricemia, infertility and osteoporosis etc . Obesity is also associated with at least three cancers (colorectal, endometrial, and breast).

It is also related with psychological problems and frequent attacks of headache.
Having understood the complications of obesity let us see the effects of Ramadan fasting on weight control.

Firstly, it is noteworthy that fasting during Ramadan reduces weight in a gradual and controlled manner, which is not detrimental to health. It is medically recommended that the obese and overweight people should reduce their weight gradually otherwise it may have harmful effects instead of causing any benefit. A month of Ramadan fasting, in general reduces weight by 2-3 kilograms only, which is appropriate.

To make sure that fast does not threaten the health of Muslims and yet achieves its beneficial effects, Islam has already taken the precautionary measures. Hence we see that taking a meal in the morning (Suhoor) before fasting begins is highly recommended.

A month of vigorous fasting also helps to mobilize the abdominal adipose tissue, the excess of which is related with the coronary heart disease. In Ramadan more and more people are inclined to offer prayers in the mosques, which means an increased physical activity, and this also has a positive effect on weight control. After a heavy Iftar meal, three consecutive prayers of Maghrib, Isha and Taraaweeh not only help to assimilate the food, which is so overwhelmingly taken at Iftaar, but also cast an overall pleasant effect on health.

Last but not the least, it should be emphasized that people interested to lose weight should avoid excessive fats at the evening meals (iftar) otherwise too much fat taken after the fasting is over may not help much.

Let's consider another bounty of Ramadan. As we know that in Ramadan a Muslim has to fast from sunrise to sunset, this duration may well be over sixteen hours in summer time. Endurance of thirst and hunger for such a long time makes a person tough and well prepared to face a situation like that if at all it recurs in future life.

To conclude, although Ramadan fasting has it's own exalted objectives, weight control and thus protection from obesity related diseases is just one of its innumerable other blessings.

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